Blood, Language, Mild Violence, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes
Release Date: December 4th, 2018 (Playstation 4, Playstation Vita)
There is no denying that the Japanese video game culture has gifted American gamers with their creativity and talents. Among an endless list of things they do very well, RPG and rhythm games are near the top of the list of things they have cornered the market in. They have given us Pokemon, Dance Dance Revolution, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts. Although mentioned less frequently, another Japanese gift, Persona, has sold tens of million of units and spawned a pretty good cult of loyalists to the franchine. The series has launched animes, novels, comic books, staged plays, and even full flown concerts. All before the series even saw its breakout release in 2017’s Persona 5! This spin-off franchise, the parent franchise being Shin Megami Tensei, is so popular that it has spawned its own spin-offs. With the newest of these, Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection, releasing December 4th.
So actually this is two, technically three, brand new games being released in a nice little bundle for fans. The two new games are Persona 3: Dancing in Midnight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight. These retail at $60 (USD) each for the standalone Playstation 4 versions. Buying the Playstation 4 collection will set back customers $100 (USD), which may seem a little steep at first glance even with it being a discount; however, the collection comes with a free download of Persona 4: Dancing All Night. This helps ease the sticker shock as not only does the player get three games, but this will be the first time all three are on the Playstation 4 out West. This is because Persona 4: Dancing All Night was solely released on the Playstation Vita back in 2015. It is one quick and addictive bundle that is easy to see why there is tremendous excitement from fans. With that being said, Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection is exactly what it is supposed to be: a spin-off.
The concept is pretty clever in of itself. Atlus has lifted fan favorite characters from their RPG games and placed them into a “dance off” situation which will appeal massively to the true Persona collectors and loyalists. The characters are quite charming and visually stimulating, as anime often is. Each of the three games storylines are quirky and inventive, with enough lighthearted humor to keep players entertained without becoming cheap or cheesy, while the interactive dialogue is captivating enough to keep players interested. The music itself, written by Shoji Meguro and composed by Ryota Kozuka, is pretty catchy and will get stuck in the palyer’s head for hours after they force themselves to walk away from the console. The more the player plays, the more unlockable content they recieve, like remixes by ATOLS, Lotus Juice, ☆Taku Takahashi, and Jazztronik. In addition to the music, the hoarder in me could not stop trying to gather the wide variety of costumes and accessories to accessorize my dancers as much as possible. The “social” aspect of the game, which allows players to connect with their favorite characters and deepen their social bonds through conversations and mini-events is a pretty addicting way to accomplish this.
Like any spin-off or sequel, there are some drawbacks to the games in Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection. For example, the game is not really doing much to reinvent the wheel. Players mash on the corresponding buttons they are asked to in order to create the intended dance moves with their favorite Persona characters. Press the buttons correctly and the player pleases the crowd and advance. Press the buttons like their thumbs are broken and they are mocked mercilessly and the level is failed. That is the game in a nutshell…tired and played out. This new collection is not going to rewrite the genre. Repeated play might be worth questioning, as once the player is done and all levels have been completed, the collection will likely be shelved and swapped for something new. Evidenced by the fact that we have ALL abandoned a dusty guitar, dance pad or drum set somewhere in our house from our discarded copies of Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, or Rock Band.
Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection has done a lot of things well. The game kept me entertained for a number of hours and despite being built around a pretty repetitive concept, it did not send me leaning towards boredom or apathy as quickly as one might assume. Altus should take a lot of pride in being brilliant enough to create a spin-off that is somehow both nostalgic enough for the collectors/fans and entertaining enough for the casual player to sit through one time around. When considering the Benjamins that players will have to shell out for the collection though, my personal opinion tends to side with spending their money more efficiently unless they are a die hard collector or fan of the series. (Josh Hammonaco; Game Reviewer)
Review copy provided by Atlus.